I have a relatively small swarm colony that I collected back in May that has been very strong and quickly built out their 10 frame deep box and have been working a flow super. Unfortunately, the behavior has become increasingly sour as they have strengthened not stinging aggressive but a lot of chasing (>100m), head butting, robbing tendency, a lot of jittery movement on the frames and flying to hands even on nice weather days. I feel like they are one step from really blowing up on a bad day. It’s really a shame because the growth and brood pattern of this queen has been phenomenal but it’s just not something that I can tolerate in this location.
There’s another strong colony with a 2021 carni hybrid queen immediately adjacent, not quite as populous, but still strong and covering 10 deep frames, that has a very gentle demeanor and is a pleasure to work that I would like combined with the swarm colony.
I did a newspaper method combine after pinching the swarm queen. I used a couple extra sheets thinking that it would slow them down a little. I don’t have a screen board. I put the now queenless swarm colony on top and slid the combined stack halfway in between (so both colonies are only about half a box width from their original location) so the field force from both colonies would easily find their way back to the new entrance. I propped open the lid so the upper bees aren’t trapped in a hot box (it’s been close to 40°C and humid the last few days) while they chew the newspaper.
My question is (maybe) a simple one: the returning foragers who had allegiance to the now-missing queen, what is their reaction to coming home to a new queen? Hopefully I didn’t unnecessarily put the good queen at risk.